Watching: Nothing. They shut off my digital cable about a week ago because I am too lazy to pay the bill. For some reason, my cable modem still works, and I still get basic cable on the television in my bedroom, so the motivation to pay it isn't quite there yet.

Except I lied, I did watch Evita this weekend, for no reason in particular. Everybody bashes this movie, but I must admit that I love it. I love Antonio Banderas, singing his little heart out, hitting about every other note, but doing so with gusto, and I really thought Madonna was fabulous.

I stand alone in this, I know. And you can talk to me until my ears fall off about Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin and I won't care. I'll still love this movie.

Reading: About seventeen different things at once, which is pretty much indicative of my ability to concentrate lately.

Working: A lot. A whole lot. As in, 56 hours last week. Woo! Cash! Money to spend on things other than my cable bill!

Welcoming: Lauren Catherine, born one week ago today to a good friend of mine from high school, the first one of our group to become a mom. I can't link the picture, but trust me, she is beautiful!

Congratulating: Dear Eliza on the occasion of her engagement! A thousand yays to you, girl!

I have had just about the crappiest day I've had in a long time.

But, alas, I can't write about it here, not because I am trying to be vague and secretive but because I don't have much to say about it at the moment.

So instead, we're going to talk about money.

First of all, if you are the kind of person who is offended when someone tells you how much they make, then you probably shouldn't read this entry. I also say you're kind of crazy. I always have idle curiosity about how much people make, and it's not because I want to know how much they make in comparison to me, but just because I'm curious, the same way I'm curious about what people's houses look like and what's inside everyone's glove compartment.

And anyway, I'm not going to tell you how much I'm making now. I'm going to tell you how much I've made in the past.

Drumroll, please: $193,267.

Why yes, I did just get my nifty little annual Social Security report today, where it lists how much you've made each year since you first filed a tax return, and my grand total is $193,267, which, if you're 30 years old and didn't go to grad school, is probably way less than your grand total.

So, for the lack of anything else to write about, let's take a look back in the life of Elizabeth's paychecks:

1988: $560. This was my job at the What's the Scoop Ice Cream store in Old Town Alexandria, just a stone's throw from where I'm sitting and which is, by the way, still there. This was my first "real" job, and to tell you the truth, I got fired about a week before I was going to quit anyway. At least, I think I got fired, I never really asked. It was September, my senior year of high school had started, and I had gone out of town over Labor Day and forgot to tell them, which apparently got you fired, because I went in when I got back to check the schedule for my last week of work, and I wasn't on it. So I went home and never even talked to anyone there again.

Looking back, I can't believe I only made $560 the whole summer. I think minimum wage was still $3.35 or something ludicrous, and that was all I was making.

1989: $0. Zippo. I went to one of those liberal, progressive, touchy-feely private schools for my senior year here in Washington (I loved it, but I'm surprised my Republican father actually let me go there), and seniors could spend April and May on a career project. I interned at USA Today on Television (Anyone remember that show? Bill Macatee? Beth Ruyak? Anyone?), and ended up just staying there all summer, even though I wasn't getting credit or getting paid. Then I went to college in the fall, and my parents decided I could spend my freshman year not working, so woo.

1990: $1,355. This was a summer back here in Alexandria, working at something called Association Headquarters. It was one of those non-profity type places that ran associations for nurses and secretaries, like getting discounts on car rentals and offering seminars on stuff. I only had to work six hours a day, so that was cool. Also, some of this was temping at school in the fall, but I didn't do it that much, maybe two or three hours a week.

1991: $2,857. The summer between my sophomore and junior year. It was the worst job of my entire life, ever. I worked for a friend of my father's who owned a transportation service. Mostly the "car service" kind of gig, but he had a few cabs as well. I was a dispatcher. No, I didn't work in a cage like Danny DeVito, it was just a regular office, but it sucked. Like these 40-year-old drivers with ponytails and tattoos were going to listen to some 19-year-old girl tell them where to go. Seriously, I used to leave work and throw up, but I couldn't quit because this guy was practically my father's best friend.

In the fall, though, I started temping in the trust department of a bank. It was one of those things that was only supposed to last three months, but I ended up staying until I graduated.

1992: $4,250. The spring, at the bank through the temp agency. I left to go work at a television station in Dayton, Ohio for the summer (again for free, feh). When I came back to school in the fall, the people I worked for at the bank called and asked if I would come back to work for them directly, so I did, which meant I got paid more, woo. I arranged my class schedule so I could work every afternoon from 1-5 as the administrative assistant for the trust department. (It ended up being 1:05, usually, because I could never bring myself to leave my apartment until Days of our Lives was over.)

1993: $7,840. I worked the whole year at the bank, part-time during school and full-time in the summer. I really liked that job. What's funny is that at the time, the trust officers (there were four of them, three lawyers and an MBA) would tell me horror stories about law school, and I remember thinking how crazy anyone was to want to go through that. (Ha.) I also got a stipend from school for being the student station manager of the university radio station in the summer and fall, and however much it was, it was not worth the headache.

1994: $18,164. Woo, I break five digits! I finished (cough) school in December of 1993 and worked at the bank through February, then moved to Los Angeles in March. I temped for three days, worked on a Latino comedy show for five weeks, then started working at Cannell Studios in June, as a floater secretary, for what I think was $375 a week, which is hardly enough to live on in Los Angeles. I started out in a studio apartment in Westwood, but in the fall I moved in with a girl I met at work to a lovely two bedroom in North Hollywood where I only heard gunshots about once a month. Sweet.

1995: $32,585. Finally making more than my age! In July of 1995, Cannell was sold to a company called New World, and in August I took a job as the assistant to the head of business affairs, one of the executives New World brought over. I got an $11,000-a-year raise and got my own place again, just in time to keep me from killing my roommate. And the apartment was less than a mile from my new office, which meant I was definitely in the running for the shortest commute in Los Angeles. (Sometimes it still took me almost twenty minutes, though. Insane.)

1996: $41,352. This may seem like a ludicrous amount of money for a 24-year-old assistant, but believe me, it didn't feel like a lot in that town. It also includes some ridiculous bonus I got at the end of 1995 for being the assistant to the Guy in Charge. (I also got a lot of sweet Christmas presents from the people in the department, which I thought was because they liked me, but in truth was probably because I was the assistant to the Guy in Charge.)

1997: $21,295. And, back down we go. At the end of 1996, New World was bought by Fox, which immediately dismantled the production company, seeing as they had a pretty good one of their own already. However, they again brought over my boss, but didn't know exactly what they wanted to do with him, so we basically spent six months by ourselves in a corner of the building while the fledgling Fox Sports Network took over our old space. I was getting ready to go to law school, so for Fox to pay me exactly what I was making before to sit around and play Monopoly on the computer was pretty much fine by me. I left at the end of June, and didn't work the rest of the year, because your first semester of law school keeps you kind of busy.

1998: $5,154. This is entirely law school money. I spent the summer working as a research assistant to a librarian, although the first three weeks were spent renovating the basement to make room for the new computer labs. Seriously, the whole library staff would spend the days boxing up old dusty law books and moving the boxes to an empty classroom and ripping apartment metal shelving units and hauling pieces of metal to the dumpster and moving boxes onto a truck and moving boxes off the truck into the warehouse. (Fortunately, they left the actual building of the new computer lab to other people.) And in the fall, once classes started, I worked for the librarian 10 or 12 hours a week.

1999: $6,572. Fall and spring, 10 hours a week in the library. Summer, $6.90 an hour at the public defender's office. Some of my smarter classmates who summered at the snooty firms made more in one week than I made all summer. And frankly, the less said about my time at the PD's office, the better. (You could read about it if you wanted to, but I'm not encouraging people to dig back in the journal that far. I'll get Grace's more entertaining entries up someday.) Also, in the fall, I became the Westlaw rep, and made $100 a week sitting in the computer lab writing journal entries and occasionally helping someone find their Westlaw password.

2000: $9,625. Spring, Westlaw and library money. Summer, nada, bar studying and post-bar slacking. Fall, one month of a hellish temp job (still not as bad as dispatching, though) and seven weeks of life at the Firm. (Seriously, probably two-thirds of that total is from the seven weeks at the Firm.)

2001: $41,658. My first full year of work after graduating from law school, and here is what I would like to point out to you: compared to my last full year of working before I went to law school, my income rose exactly $306. Three hundred and six dollars.

What the hell was I thinking five years ago? They were paying me forty grand a year to work for a great boss at a job with no responsibility where I could make long distance calls all day and drink free diet Coke.

I gave all that up to go $60,000 into debt, add a couple of letters after my name, and increase my income by $306.

I think I need a drink.

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